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The Genre Characteristics and Literary Status of Kim Eok's Popular Song Lyrics - Focusingon the Femininity with Exoteric Sentiment

  • Korean Language & Literature
  • 2008, (65), pp.467-491
  • Publisher : Korean Language & Literature
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature

김진희 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Arguing that the lyrics of Eok Kim's popular songs in the 1930s are based on the emotion and format that he pursued from the outset of his poems, this research examines whether these characteristics were further developed in the lyrics of popular songs. In addition, it investigates how the femininity excited by these sentiments functions in popular culture, and how significant these characteristics are in the history of modern poetry. Kim considered "Gyeokjosi" (swing verse) to be the most appropriate for showing the sentiment of the Korean race, viz., Joseon sentiment. He thus writes popular songs based on this format. "Gyeokjosi" is the form fit into reciting and singing. It is one of the regular rules of versification which can effectively realize the ideal of poems that Kim thought of as songs. By dint of this, Kim hoped that the modern poems could be created which the whole nation could enjoy. This paper approaches the lyrics of popular songs, i.e., ballad poems as a branch of popular literature. It can be conjectured that the lyrics of popular songs served as popular poems when popular novels, particularly lowbrow novels, were in vogue in the mid- and late-1930s. Therefore, the lyrics of popular songs in the 1930s showed the origin of the genre of popular poems, in which sense they can be evaluated to have expanded the field of modern poetry. What calls for attention, among others, is that Kim focuses on sadness, rather than gladness, and he gives elegiac feeling which awakens the femininity. These sensitivity and femininity are apt for the fundamental sentiment of popular songs, which can get supported by the populace. Kim's lyrics of popular songs in the 1930s plays a role of popular poems well enough in that they effectively reveal the public sentiment in those days, grounded upon the feelings of sorrows and pathos which Kim himself sought after. Furthermore, the femininity suggested by sorrow and grief plays an important part in appealingly expressing the sense of loss and helplessness felt by the general public who were living in the critical reality of colonial modern times. These facts confirms that the role of contemporary poets was crucial in the process in which the femininity, sentimentalism, and elegiac sense were incorporated into the popular ballad poems of the literary circles where they had been estranged while the elite being in the main. In this light, Eok Kim and his works of popular song lyrics can called a significant trailblazer for the history of modern poetry.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.